A while ago Jim Brophy shared a great little post featuring the Toyota Probox, one of the more ubiquitous contractor grade vehicles that are all over Tokyo (and the rest of Japan). That reminded me of one that I saw when I was last over there and created the perfect opportunity to share it here.
Yes, Japan has a large tuner crowd that usually specializes in lowering and making things faster. But they also have fans of the Off-Road culture with lots of examples of the Toyota Land Cruiser and many other off-roaders, almost always spotless but sometimes modified. So here we have one of the apparently few privately owned Proboxes, converted to be a little more “Bro”-style, ergo the Brobox named more after our own BroDozer pickup trucks and not Jim Bro-phy although that fits too…
Taking cues from the off-roadiest of Toyotas, the grille features the Toyota name spelled out, harkening back to days of wonder and magic when Toyota didn’t have a logo and thus was kind of forced to just plaster the name on the grille. Nowadays of course that’s reserved for the most capable versions of the off-roaders that Toyota builds and something of a badge of honor.
The front end styling denotes this as one of the first-generation cars, some would call it plain and bland, I think it looks clean, understated, and purposeful. The color works too, a light tan, very reminiscent of the hue on many Land Cruisers although it was actually closer to the Light Ivory (Hellelfenbein) of German Taxicabs.
Endowed with a lift kit, black steelies (that may well be repurposed stock silver items with some black paint) shod with Mudstar Radial M/T (Mud-Terrain) tires, all that’s missing is a set of rock rails and maybe a few LED light bars for the full effect. However, in the more demure Japanese style that isn’t always evident on their tuner cars, this just gets the job done without being all shouty about it and frankly works for me in a less is more style.
Of course there’s already enough flair and extravagant style built in with that little angled corner at the base of the D-Pillar. They probably thought nobody would notice. Please. The way that taillight too angles into the quarter panel just screams for the area to be looked at, it’s all so in your face.
Around back, more TOYOTA lettering on the liftgate and the tag at the bottom right denotes it as a 400kg-er, or almost a half-ton for us more versed in pickup truck lingo. This is after all sort of the equivalent to the F-150 over there as far as I’m concerned, yes most are only used for business purposes and very few (so far) are used for personal use. Maybe that’s because the Probox only comes in what we’d call XL and maybe the XLT trim levels, and not in an Emperor Ranch trim.
Back when I found this I was convinced that all Proboxes were FWD, however I realized later that there was in fact an AWD version as well. This may well be one, however it also might not be, I don’t know if there is an obvious “tell”. The automatic transmission isn’t definitive, the AWD one was also available that way. All I know is that with AWD availability I’m even more interested in having one than I was before!
Inside it’s all business with what we could be fooled into thinking is luxurious black leather, but is almost assuredly Toyotas finest Toyo-No-Tex. Buttery smooth, and cossetting for one’s backside, even when the going gets rough and the backside gets sweaty. Just wipe it all down afterward and it’ll be good for another 2 million kilometers.
As much as I like the regular Probox, I took a liking to the Brobox as soon as I saw it. I spent part of that evening trying to figure out if this was a factory item but eventually came to the conclusion that no, it’s someone’s own creation. If the Probox was sold abroad I could see this variant becoming a thing though, but I fear Toyota HQ itself may not realize the potential that is here.